Finding the Perfect Location


Before the new article starts we want to thank everyone who came to our first physical survival course in Croatia. The week was fantastic and we couldn’t have wished for better people who were eager to learn and get through the situations we set up.

Toby is also going to join us here on SHTF School and will contribute more articles and collaborate with Selco on articles like the one we post today.

Much more about the course, along with some video updates for our Survival Boot Camp Members in the coming weeks.

The ‘Perfect’ Location

I have been reading more and more lately, articles with the theme of having a ‘Perfect Bug In Location’, along with details on how to defend it, options and examples on booby traps, philosophy of defence and similar. It’s a facinating discussion with lot of interesting points, and it gave me the idea to share some thoughts of mine.

Shelter, Home, Your Place

Survival is a lot, if not all, about being (staying) safe, so one of the first thoughts that come to my mind is having a good shelter.
When people think about that, you could easily come to the conclusion that as good a shelter you have, then more chances you have to survive (or be comfortable etc).

Now, too an extent, there is nothing wrong this idea, BUT only to a point. Problems start when you get yourself stuck in the mode of thinking (and acting!) with the conclusion that your best option is to have big strong well secured and fortified shelter, and you decide that this equals ‘complete’ safety, or this is a solution that will get you through every problem.

So your focus becomes on buying a big stronghold somewhere with big walls, alarms, weapons and everything else. To the extent, all your time, effort and energy is spent in this regard.

There is nothing wrong with this as a concept, but, if you do not consider some other things you may find yourself very unpleasantly surprised sooner or later.

Being and staying safe is actually having more then one option. Let me reiterate that. Greater safety comes from having options.

So for example, if you have your perfectly organised and defended home in a town, it is good, very good. Even better, is having some temporary shelter close to your home in case you need to leave or evacuate your home at short notice.

Being and staying safe is about having more options for the same problems, and survival is not about dying while defending your shelter, it is about finding another and surviving.
Whenever someone shows me good home plans in terms of defending and survival I feel happy for them, but my next question (or thought) is always, where are your exits? Where are you planning to go to for cover (or shelter) in a case when you have to leave, either temporarily or forever?

As always, the real problem, in my opinion, is that there is gonna be whole bunch of survivalists that are going to die just because they did not consider options that they are gonna be forced to leave there ‘perfect’ home, and so will (needlessly) die, staying and defending it.

It is scary thought. That you may be forced to leave your perfect survival location, that you spent so long, for years maybe, building, equiping and preparing.

When I hear words ‘perfect’ shelter, or ‘perfect’ hiding location, my first thought is of a temporary shelter inside ruin, or in woods, because this is the most likely and most suitable for a large variety of circumstances. I’m not saying this is always the case, but things happen this way more often than people realise, and if you research any number of disaster and catastrophies you will see this evidenced time and time again…

Of course, you all know, I have my location where I plan to be when SHTF, but it is MY plan. Circumstances very often do not allow plans to be conducted, so maybe only after three days I’ll have only trash bag as my BOL or bug in place, but I’ll be alive. Again to reiterate, have a plan, but have options and alternatives to your plan.

Defending Your Shelter

In the same articles that I have read, there is various advice on how to kill someone while you’re defending your shelter, which is good, because you will need this type of mindset and methodology.

But again, the problem is that you may conclude that by killing others you will solve all your problems. In reality, you may find yourself surprised because sometimes you will get yourself killed to, in that same way.
And that is not survival.

When it comes to having safe shelter, and for this example we are talking about one night temporary urban shelter, but it applies longer term as well , you have to think in layers.

There will be times and situations where you will have to deal with a threat in the most immeadiate, definitive and drastic way, but more often than not you need to think about defence in some kind of layers and these layers are designed to ‘buy time’.

Safe shelter means it is safe for you. In urban settings, that usually equals that you are hidden and sheltered from other people first, so solution to the problem is not to kill them in the first place. It is about staying hidden and therefore safe.

So first layer should be that YOU alone are choosing that shelter, no one else will take that same shelter, so you will not have need to „terminate“ anyone.

So choose a place that no one else will choose it (while you are using it).

Use your knowledge and skills (and some imagination too). It maybe simply selecting a place that everybody else see as very dangerous. We have mention before using signs saying ‘mines’ or ‘sniper’ to scare people, or an area with a bad stench and similar things.

Remember that in SHTF situation people usually go for easy places, for places that need less effort. If you make it look not interesting and very hard for other folks you already did half of the job.

Second layer could be that you need an alarm or warning signal if someone is approaching, so you have time to react, the time is spent making the decision that you will decide is it worth to use deadly force, create a distraction or you will simply run away to the other side (yeah it make sense to know all exits from your temporary shelter)

Your last layer could be booby traps. And think here, why you want to use these? You want to kill, maim or scare someone? You want to take their stuff? Or you simply love to build booby traps? Now booby traps is a BIG issue on it’s own, so I will write more about this later, but while they may be simple in design, we need to think a lot about why and how we are using them.

Understand, each definitive action during SHTF could draw high risk to you too, so choose your actions very carefully.

Of course that there will be times when you will have to make high risk decisions, actually very often, but it is matter of judgment based on the situation. However the more options you give yourself the more decisions you will have available.

Remember, the adage ‘live too fight another day’ should be far more prominent in your mind as a strategy than the ‘over my dead body’ or you’ll get my stuff when you pry it ‘from my cold, dead fingers’ which is often touted as a ‘solution’ by folks with little experience in the realities of violence.

AVOIDING conflict is one of the best survival strategies we can have. Having options if we get to a conflict is the next stage. Building defensive layers to ‘buy time’ and help make decisions is a far more ‘greater’ solution than just trying to build and stockpile a fortress.

If you plan to ‘shelter in place’, have you given yourself alternate options and escape strategies? Let me know in the comments below, how you plan to deal with someone trying to gain access to your location?

18 responses to “Finding the Perfect Location”

  1. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    I have several sites in mind at private property location. I have located and hidden some supplies I think will help build a quick to build – small scale ‘stay in from the rain – sleep space’ near them. They are just shelter from the outside elements – nothing more. No exterior water sources and nearby roads and camp scents have been taken into account. The scent of burning wood does carry a long distance though.

    Thanks Selco.

  2. lynn says:

    Good reminder about smoke carrying afar…

  3. rev. dave says:

    The main component of my ‘strategy’ is avoidance – early avoidance whenever possible. I’d rather be 200 miles from possible trouble in a hotel somewhere, and then go home when it’s done, than to stay home and maybe be killed. Avoidance, remote locations, low profile living while there – steps 1, 2 and 3.

  4. Nancy says:

    Hi, good article. I am an American, and the biggest problem Americans face is their ignorance, and pride. They think they know everything, sorry to say. They also watch too many movies. Reality is just the name of another TV show. I was almost homeless once, with only hours to spare. During the time I knew it could happen, I rode a bus around town, looking for a safe place to be. It changed how I saw the world… from a safe place to a hostile place. And, looking for resources makes you crazy. When I did actually did become homeless years later, I had worked through that, but I still was not prepared, and thought I would freeze to death in a temporary shelter without heat. Since then, I have been afraid that I might be homeless again in the winter, and simply not survive the weather. All that was before the ‘survivalist’, or ‘preparedness’ movements. Because of my own real experience, I can see through the standard ideas people hold today. Yes, I have prepared to survive without stores or new supplies for years, but the most important thing I have done for myself and anyone with me is learn primitive skills: fire making, knapping, and cordage to start with. Everyday carry at minimum is a good knife. What you know how to do is so much bigger than what you have. I have also spent the last few years learning what’s around me, resources and food. I do have a weapon, but I can also make weapons. Stealth weapons. Light weight weapons. But another thing I learned about hiding, moving under cover and breathing over fear of being caught I learned from playing a game called ‘Hide and Seek” as an adult. I recommend that sort of practice for those who think their walls and roofs will protect them. A fire will get them out of there so fast they don’t have time to think. There are many things that can happen to put you out of your BOL. I doubt many will make it without their ‘fast food’ places or even electricity. I love this country, but not the people who are arrogant, immature, and unrealistic. Those things can get them killed. imo Thank you for sharing your experiences and helping people see the holes in their thinking.

  5. Aussie Mick says:

    Multiple options is an absolute must…not only with bug out destinations…also with WHO you are throwing your hand in with…if you are depending one one or two others, and they disappear or are eliminated…big problem. It is possible to preposition food supplies (as I do)…by planting edible ‘wild foods’ at each possible bug out location. there are many fruits, herbs and plants that most people will not recognize as a food source..for example…dragon fruit…a climbing cactus that fruits for 6 months of the year…I have them growing in multiple locations. Even our native animals do not recognize them as a food source, as they are an introduced species to this country. There are many plants that survive with little or no maintenance. There are others that can be planted in the same locations as a means to attract game. These food sources can sustain you, be used as barter goods or be sold. For example, I swap dragon fruit for haircuts, fresh eggs, bread, fresh veggies, coffee and even fresh fish. I also teach others to do the same…and even help them to get started….remember the old saying…”what goes around, comes around”. I also have a mental list of fruit trees that are growing wild in this region, in council parks and reserves. Water can be found anywhere…if you know how…..if you don’t…learn. M.

  6. Ss says:

    These are great articles. Common sense stuff.
    I read bug-in purists all the time. There is always someone with the means of besieging your fortress unless you have the money to build a giant underground missile silo. Staying in reminds me of Waco Texas.

    • timgray says:

      Sadly the rich easily panicked types have bought up all the old silos around the united states and are listing them for Huge $$$. although you can build a decent underground bunker that is liveable for a whole lot less. The problem is that 99% of all counties in the USA forbid their construction so you either need to pay 2X the build costs to have all the workers keep their mouths shut or you need to do it yourself hidden from view.

    • George Kaplan says:

      Riots. Things get destroyed. Neighborhoods burn down.

      Depends on where you live. Or does it.

  7. grower says:

    This was the take-away from the article for me:
    [quote] Remember, the adage ‘live too fight another day’ should be far more prominent in your mind as a strategy than the ‘over my dead body’ or you’ll get my stuff when you pry it ‘from my cold, dead fingers’ which is often touted as a ‘solution’ by folks with little experience in the realities of violence. [/quote]

    For me, the 3 important factors to keep in mind are (1) live in an area away from cities, (2) know my neighbors and know I can trust them, (3) have a Plan B. Having family close by is a big plus, as well.

    I have familiarized myself with wild edible and medicinal plants in the local area, so if I had to bug out without any supplies, I could find something to eat for me and my family.

    Thanks for making us think, Selco.

  8. Nick says:

    I’ve said for a long time that “options and mobility are your most important assets when SHTF”. I’m working on hardening my house, but first I made a bugout trailer and fitted it for escape.

    God gave me a dream about fire sweeping through my neighborhood, burning up the residences… in the dream, I was trying to figure out what I should put in the limited space of my pickup truck… I realized that I did not have enough space, and in the dream I did not have the time (due to the encroaching fire) to figure it out. I was on a bad way.

    The next morning when I woke up, I started shopping for enclosed trailers, and eventually I ordered one. I outfitted it to take what I would need (including a spare vehicle), and am moving toward “loaded and ready to roll” in 30 minutes or less.

    Selco is right again… you need options. The more options you have, the better. Nothing is perfect, and everything can be compromised. But the more you prepare, diversify, think cleverly, and remain determined, the better your chances will be compared to the next guy. Selco is great at keeping you thinking in terms of the realities of SHTF… no fluff, no hype, just reality. I am grateful for his course and his continued input.

    I thank God for that dream.

  9. toktomi says:

    “…how you plan to deal with someone trying to gain access to your location?”

    Who’s there? How many? What do they want? How desperate or mean are they? How are they armed? What is their mobility?

    It would take thousands of plans to anticipate all of the possibilities. I don’t have a plan. I have fear. I have determination. I have a gun. I hope that I will not be alone. I hope that I will be prepared to either stay or to leave that place. I aspire to the brilliance of one of the most successful animal species on the N.American continent, the coyote who almost always runs away and is an expert at hiding.

    It is difficult trying to imagine the possible future necessity of running away and leaving all the stuff that one has cached in hopes that it would be helpful or necessary for survival.

    And then, sometimes survival cannot be had by either staying or leaving. Then, perhaps, it is time to simply inflict as much pain and damage as possible and to save one bullet for oneself.

  10. Dutch-viking says:

    let me start with :thanks Selco !!!
    this website is going to save many lives ….

    i live on the edge of town near 3 borders
    to the south i have Belgium , to the east i have Germany
    to the west i have Holland and the north sea ……
    i picked this spot because there are options …..
    there is a lot of water around so if the roads are blocked i get a boat
    get upstream towards Germany and further up al the way too switserland
    or go downstream too the sea and get a boat ride to ……
    there are also some old mining sites to seek a safe heaven ….
    just keep thinking outside the box ….

    peace !!!

  11. timgray says:

    If you have to defend a position from a larger force, you already lost the battle. better is to hide the location and keep it secret so the only thing you worry about is the rare chance that it is discovered by a single person that can easily be dealt with.

    A friend really made his cabin incredibly well defended by planting a lot of pines in rows with devils club and other nasty poisonous plants between them Even the most brave Marines in the world will run away like crying babies when presented with a thicket of devils club.

    find a location and make uninviting and overgrown so that your location is hidden. If bugging in, find a way to make the place look as if it was already ransacked and nothing of value is there anymore if that means building cement block walls in the basement and making hidden doors, then do so, just remember to have more than 1 exit.

  12. Red says:

    I believe one of the reasons why these Islamic radicals are able to take so much from people in such little time is because they come from a nomadic culture and are able to adapt quickly. In their homelands they have learn to dwell in tents, caves, deserts, and ruins. That’s their strength. But relying on that strength alone does not lead to survival. Most of them do not live past the age of 40. We too must learn to adapt and to get out of what is comfortable. Shelter does not always have to be 4 walls and a roof. It can be wherever you are at with the right mindset and tools.

  13. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    Any thoughts on using a houseboat as a bug out location ? I always thought one of the major difficulties in keeping a camp secret is the trail – road that leads to their location. A camp that is located on a stretch of water could make for a very difficult to locate camp. You would need some type of watercraft (kayak / canoe) for using it, but that would also discourage people from accidentally stumbling on it as well.

    Something to think about.

  14. John Russel says:

    [For, as Chia Lin remarks: “if you fight with all your might, there is a chance of life; where as death is certain if you cling to your corner.”]

  15. john says:

    I have a large “tornado” shelter built underneath my basement floor, well stocked with food. I’m not going anywhere unless absolutely necessary. If i do need to leave, I have at least 8 different places I can go. Half of them are outside the city I currently live in. I own 3 vehicles not counting 3 motorcycles and 2 bicycles. One of my vehicles is a heavy duty flatbed truck. As long as I can find fuel, I won’t have any problem with transportation. If there’s no fuel, I have the bicycles unless its too dangerous for those, then I have my feet. My house is very close to a large industrial district that will be very useful for “finding” necessary materials and also hiding places. There is a wooded area close also…great for firewood, and a creek very close for water if necessary. I have two fireplaces. My plan is to make my house look abandoned and keep my survival supplies hidden in my secret hiding places.

    I do not intend to fight with anyone who knows I’m around. If I can’t kill them before they know I’m there, then I will stay away from them. If that means leaving my house and coming back after they have left, or never coming back, then so be it.

  16. Larry says:

    You all write as though you have only yourselves to consider. I have my wife, our three adult sons (36 to 52 years of age, their children 21-30 years of age their children, in laws, extended family, and close friends. . . Sort of muddys the water huh? None the less, we have planned to make it to the eldest son’s farm in Northern California. Three families now live on the farm in existing housing, and the rest of us have purchased self contained travel trailers, so we do not require housing. The 20 acre farm is compete with a year round stream, a small lake, above ground water storage, underground fuel storage and a current 1 acre garden with three additional good ground acres available Although the eldest son who owns and operates a large fence company, has stored freeze dried foods for the past three years and has chickens, pigs and beef, we have each stored our own long term rations in our homes and our trailers so as to come well supplied for ourselves. Sounds like a fairytale or a dream…. but we are a serious family, and even give birthday and Christmas gifts of survival gear. An Army veteran and a retried State Trooper, I have no doubt we will survive the coming LOOMING civil unrest facing the American society. Two of my sons were marines, and all three served several years in the Sheriffs department before starting their own businesses., The youngest was a battlefield medic in the middle east. his wife is a dentist, and one other daughter in law is a surgical room nurse. Each of us has more than one, legal, semi-auto rifle, and all of the same caliber. We have not prepared to stay in place, although no doubt we could do that for some time. We understand that we could be driven from the farm, and have selected multiple fall back locations 30 miles of each other, all on BLM land with available river water…. and we have pre-stocked these locations with essentials.. Expensive? Not in the least. We are in our 8th year of planning and preparing to survive…., and use only 10% of our disposable income for this. We just use it religiously, every month of every year. Not at all difficult if you have a plan. We started all this with physical conditioning, and tactical training. We coordinate training along with the local militia and are reasonable networked with other group,s including Oathkeepers.

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